Children must be ready to succeed when they enter school — cognitively, socially, emotionally and physically. To achieve this, they need high-quality learning opportunities beginning at birth.
The Dunbar Learning Complex ensures that children are ready to succeed in school through a focus on:
- the whole family: Our two-generation approach promotes parents’ economic well-being and parenting skills while simultaneously making sure their children are healthy, thriving and developing on track to be successful in school and life. The Center for Working Families, Inc., a critical partner and next-door neighbor, connects parents to opportunities to move to work, wealth and entrepreneurship.
- community: The complex exists because of resident demand for high-quality care and learning services in the community. Parents contributed to the complex’s design process and continue to influence its operation, viewing it as a key community asset. In addition, area residents can pursue job opportunities at Educare Atlanta through Sheltering Arms’ Georgia Training Institute.
- helping parents advocate for quality: Through networks such as the Parent Leadership Institute and Consumer Advocacy Group, parents can advocate for quality childcare and educational programs at the complex and throughout their community. In addition, Educare Atlanta hosts monthly meetings for parents on topics related to child development, health and literacy; offers a room filled with resources for parents; and provides a unique, school-based Parents as Teachers home-visiting program.
- child health and well-being: The Dunbar Learning Complex employs a holistic approach to prepare children — physically, emotionally and socially — to succeed in school. On-site services provided through the Healthy Beginnings System of Care prevent health issues from negatively affecting learning and development. In addition, evidence-based programs such as the 4Rs Program and Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports help children develop the social and emotional skills necessary for school success.
- research and evaluation: Independent and in-house evaluations support continuous improvements at the Dunbar Learning Complex. By tracking the students who remain in the Atlanta school system through graduation, the complex will demonstrate its long-term impact.
- evidence-based practices and programs: The complex uses many evidence-based programs to assist teachers, students and parents in ensuring children develop strong language and literacy skills, as well as positive social and emotional behavior.
- replication and sustainability: The complex blends public and private funding — including contributions from the federal, state and local level — and is documenting this funding strategy, the implementation of innovative programs and the results and lessons learned by staff and partners so that others can learn from and replicate this model. Because of the complex’s success to date, local partners are exploring the possibility of adopting this model at other area schools.